On the Border

We had lots of friends over last night. Some familiar folks and some new ones, too.

Our son’s paratransit bus pulled up about an hour after company arrived, and Joey came up the walk way with a big smile on his face as he realized that company was here.

Although we had food ready to go, our friends graciously insisted on waiting for Joey (well, the grownups did allow for beer and wine while waiting) and their kids ran out onto the walkway to welcome him home. He ate with the group and then retreated to his room for some private video watching time.


Joey at a social event.  Creating border space.

Later, he came out of his room, again with a big smile across his face. He didn’t come sit in the group, but stood just outside the living room. He came in a couple of times, accepting the hand of one guest to help him down a step and going around to make brief eye contact with others.

He behaved similarly at his brother’s wedding reception a few years ago, standing at the edge of the dance floor, smiling, but not accepting numerous invitations to join the dancing.

Joey creates these border places that allow him to be part of social occasions. He doesn’t dive in and do all of the typical social stuff, nor does he completely withdraw except for temporary respite if things get too loud for him.

People on the autism spectrum are in part defined by what most of us would call impaired social behavior. But they’re not asocial. They are capable of creating social space that works with their sensory issues.

Our work is to watch for those comfortable border places that allow them to feel connection with others without trying to force expected interactions upon them. As an introvert, I can appreciate that.

Let ’em have their time on the border, I say.

Speaking of being on the border, we have a release date for Blooming Idiots: Amateurs Raising Plants – And A Kid With Autism. It will be October 31st, so right on time for your holiday stylings. Consider getting a copy for a family caregiver you know… we’ll have more details in the near future.

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